Thursday, July 2, 2015

2015 Top End Barra Series Round 3

Hi there,

Some time ago was the third round of the 2015 Top End Barra Series.
And it was great fun.
  • For this round we fished the Daly River.
  • We got all our fish on soft plastic lures.
  • We did much better than last year in the same round.
This year the third round of the Series was taking place on the mighty Daly River.
With the memory of the big fat donut that we had scored last year in the Daly round, Brett and I teamed up again, with the hope of doing better this year.
And better we did.

We left Darwin on the Friday afternoon, so we could have a little pre-fish on Friday evening, and start early on the Saturday morning, once the friendly competition was started.
As soon as we got on the water, we were reminded that in now ways, this is a river in which you go for a swim. The number of crocodile in there is just incredible.

A fresh water crocodile in the Daly River.

A Jabiru and a salt water crocodile at the Daly River.

The fresh water crocodile also known as Crocodylus johnsoni or Crocodylus johnstoni and the salt water crocodile or Crocodylus porosus, are two very different species, found in the Daly River. The salt water specie being the most dangerous one.
Yet, this should not makes us forget how beautiful this big river is:

Bank of the Daly River.

I don't fish this river very often, maybe once or twice a year if I am lucky. But I really like going fishing there, and there is always the possibility of catching a big Barramundi in the Daly.
But in the cold morning, the first thing that I caught, was not a big Barramundi.
It wasn't even a fish!
I got my line tangled in the propeller of the electric motor...

First catch of the trip for me.

What a shame job that was...
But hey, it could be worse...
And in fact, not very long after that casting a soft plastic lure against the bank, I finally got my first Barra for the round:

First Barramundi of the round three.

At 52cm, this was going be my smallest fish of the weekend. Yet it was enough to get me on the board, and I was very happy with that. Not knowing yet that this was going to be my only fish for the first day.
Just a bit further from where I had caught this fish, we saw another salt water crocodile on the bank:

Salt water crocodile on the river bank.

This one was on a very step bank, and is a good reminder, that in some place, it is better not to get out of the boat for a walk on the bank.

With the action on the fishing front being a bit slow, we caught up with some other participants in this very social competition, and had a midday raft up:

Rafting up on the Daly River.

Raft up are an integral element of the Top End Barra Series, and is part of what keeps it such a friendly and social event. It is a time to share fishing tales, and other banter, with various people, most of them addicted to fishing.

We did try to get a fish after that, but it was hard fishing.
Brett did get his first fish for the round too, on a vibe:

Brett's first Barramundi of the weekend.

Now we both had a fish under our respective names, and no donut on the boat, we could start to relax.
This was near a pile of big snags, where a few grey nomads were fishing with cherabin (Large fresh water prawns) and pulling some good fish from the said snags. This looked like a good spot, but too many people were already on it, we decided to keep it in mind for the next day.

Moving a bit upstream, we did find a spot full of small Barramundi. Brett actually managed to get maybe twenty of them, all from the same snag. But alas, they were all very small juvenile fish. Yet they were great fun and we enjoyed the action, after a day of rather quiet fishing. We even saw a big Mangrove Jack coming after the little Barramundi. 

Brett catching one of the many little Barramundi.

This was fun but with the evening light descending upon us we decided to head to camp. Have a shower, and a great roast for dinner, served at the Banyan Farm.

On the Sunday morning, we decided to try our luck a bit closer than where we had been down on the river the previous day. And that was going to be a good move. We went back to the big pile of snags where Brett had got his fish on the Saturday. This time no one was there yet, we had the place for ourselves. 

Among the snags, just behind an half submerged tree trunk, was a nice little colour change in the water. This is where I wanted to flick my lure:

Snag and colour change.

Just in the shade, the colour of the water was changing, due to the little creek entering the big river.
This spot looked really attractive to me, but also like a fishing lure grave yard.
So I decided to use a weedless plastic lure, that look a bit like a cherabin, to try to emulate the success the grey nomads were having the day before. 
I also decided to use my Ugly Stick fishing rod, instead to my more fragile St-Croix. The reason being that I was thinking that if I was to get lucky enough to hook a fish in there, I wanted to be able to high stick the rod, to try to get it out of the treacherous snags as quick as possible. Before it get the time to rub my line on all the underwater branches and cut it. It was going to affect my casting distance, but in this case, I didn't need to flick my lure very far.
The combination of the heavy rod and a weedless cherabin lookalike lure proven successful as I quickly got a hit. Sadly it didn't connect properly and the fish was lost in less than two second.
Yet, it proved to me, that this was the right gears in the right spot, so I persevered.

It finally happened, and the hit came fast and brutal.
I shouted that I was on and raised my fishing rod as high as I could, reeling in at the same time.
Still, there was this half submerged tree trunk between us on the boat, and the fish in the water.
Brett, quickly put the front of the boat on the first branch of the trunk, grabbed his net, and extended the handle to the maximum. It just reached behind the last branch in the water. The Barramundi was trying to dive under the branch, but putting my finger on the spool, and raising my fishing rod over my head, all the while screaming that "He's going to get break my line!!!"
But we managed to slide this fish in the net, and Brett brought it to the boat.

Barramundi plugged from the snags.

At 69cm it was going to be my best Barramundi for the weekend.
And seeing where it came from, made me very happy.

Seeing the result, Brett quickly put a similar lure at the end of his line, albeit in a different colour, and  started to cast in the same spot.
And the same thing happened.
First a hit that didn't deliver.
Then a solid hook up and a fish in the boat!

Brett's second point scorer Barramundi of the weekend.

It looked that we had found the right spot.
Sadly, no more fish were to be had from this very snag.
But all was not lost, as we both got fish about one hundred meters from there.

As we were moving just a little bit downstream, Brett started to use a vibe lure again, but it got snagged at the bottom and he lost the lure.
After putting another vibe on, he continued to cast toward the same snag, being persuaded that a fish might be in it...
And he did snag something, but it wasn't a fish.
It was the lure that he had just lost, and he got it back!

Brett and his vibe that caught the lost vibe.

About one hundred meters from where we had caught some fish, there was a smaller snag where we saw a fly fisherman caught a Barramundi earlier in the day.
We started to cast to it, and Brett soon came up with the good, his third fish for the third round:

Brett's third Barramundi for the round.

As we were still casting vibe lures to this small snag, I thought that I should try to do a few cast toward the middle of the river, just in case a big mama Barramundi was cruising past with the tide.
And on the second or third cast my line came tense, and started to peel from my reel.
Yes it had worked, I had found a passing fish.
It was not the big mama that I had hoped for, yet it was still a decent fish that made me very happy:

My last Barramundi of the weekend.

This one came in at 63cm, enough to get me a good score in this round.

But it was already early afternoon, and we decided to have a quick look at the spot where we had fun with all the babies Barra on the previous day. 
With the difference in tide, the action was not has ferocious as it had been, but it was still great fun, and we still had hop that a big Barra was among them.
In fact a very nice one came and swam behind Brett's lure, but didn't take it.

So we decided to go back, clean the camp and go home.

The Banyan Farm boat ramp.

For this round, we stayed in a cabin at the Banyan Farm, where we also had our dinner.
This is a great place to stay, and would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone. The staff there is very friendly and welcoming, the food is great and at a reasonable price, the cabins and the camping grounds are very pleasant. They even have a swimming pool now, so after a long day fishing it is a really good place to unwind.
Thank you Brett for inviting me on your boat.

I alway love fishing on the Daly river, even if it is not alway an easy place to fish.
And now I might have to wait for another year, before I am back there.

But hey, it could be worse.
Have a good day,

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Fishing Darwin Harbour In Cold Weather.

Hi there,

After talking about it for so long, Ozdodge and I finally went fishing on Darwin Harbour.
And the water was very cold...

  • It was my first time fishing with Ozdodge.
  • We fished Darwin Harbour.
  • We got a few small fish.
  • It was a great day on the water.
Ozdodge and I had talked about going fishing together for a while, but never found the time to do it.
Finally, the planets aligned just right and on a Saturday I received a phone call that went a bit like this: Hey, it's Ozdodge here, do you want to go fishing on the harbour tomorrow?
He didn't need to twist my arms, I said yes.

It is alway interesting to go fishing with someone you have never fished before, as it is the time to learn some new things. And, it often seems that there is alway something new to learn, about the art of catching a fish.

So on the harbour we went, the water was rather cold at 24 degrees celsius (73.4 Fahrenheit).
We were wondering if we would be able to find some Barramundi in such cold waters.
On the first spot that we trolled, it didn't take long for Ozdodge to come up with a little fish:

Ozdodge with the first fish of the day.

This was a little Trevally, and it was promptly released.
There is nothing like the first fish to lift the spirit of a fishing party, even when it is a little one.
As they say, a fish is a fish.

But not getting anything else there, we moved to a nice little creek:

Trolling a muddy creek.

That creek was full of bait, and this made us think that we had found the right spot.
but after a few troll for not much, We started to wonder about that. So I put my rod in the rod holder, and jumped on the cast desk, with another fishing rod in hand. Determined to flick at every little drain that we would pass.
As I am busy focusing on the little drains, Ozdodge call came in: You are on!
I look at my rod at the back of the boat, and yes effectively, the rod buckle down and something is obviously trying to pull the line out of the reel.
I jump back toward the stern of the boat with my flicking rod still in one hand, by the time I am about to pick up the bent rod, the line went limp... Too late... So I still grab the rod, just above the handle to check if the lure is still swimming properly. And bang a sharp and quick little jerk in the rod made me realise that something was still at the end of my line. But alas, that was the last I felt of it, because in this little jerk, it must have managed to spat the lure. 
And nothing more happened in this creek.

Ozdodge decided that we should try our chance in the next creek, and that was a good call...
We arrived to a miniature rock bar, where I was advised to drop the anchor. 
How big was the structure?
This big:

Mini rock bar in the mud.

This is the place where we were to pick up all of our Barramundi for the day.
After his second or third cast Ozdodge was on to a nice little Barramundi:

Ozdodge first Barramundi of the day.

It wasn't really a monster one, but it was the targeted species for the day, so the mission was accomplished. Well, except that it was now a two fish to nile in favour of my skipper.
It was time for me to wake up.
So I caught a Barramundi too. Not a big one but this one was mine, and was the first I got in about a month.

My first Barramundi of the day.

I got happy with that. We now both had caught a Barramundi, and from now on, everything else was going to be a bonus.
And what a bonus did Ozdodge took!

Another Barra for Ozdodge.

And to show me that it wasn't just a fluke, he nearly immediately repeated the effort:

Ozdodge and his third Barramundi of the trip.

I was starting to think that I was receiving a lesson in Barramundi fishing.
Near all of the Barramundi come from the very same spot, in a radius of a few centimetres. 
Obviously, they like this spot.
Trying to be as best a student as I could be, I finally caught another little Barra.

My last Barra of the day.

This one was rather small, and nearly on the cute side of thing, as what cute can be for a Barramundi.
I had caught my two fish on the same lure, the Reidy's Junior B52, a lure that I really like.

Barramundi and Reidy's Junior B52.

So to not be left behind, Ozdodge didn't wast any time in getting the last Barramundi of the day.

Ozdodge with the last Barramundi of the day.

The action died after that, but that was six Barramundi from the same spot, in a very short amount of time. So in my book, a good spot.
we wanted to be home early, so we started to make our way back.
Just stoping at a last spot, for a few quick casts, while drifting.
There I got a baby Rock Cod, which had totally inhaled my lure.
It was released at the side of the boat, to try to minimise its time out of the water.
Then I hooked something that pulled much better. But on the first jump I saw that it wasn't a Barramundi, it was a Tarpon. I played it a bit near the boat, until he made a beautiful jump. Shake all over and spat a soft plastic lure that had been broken in two.
Ozdodge quickly flicked his lure in roughly the same spot and off course, you guessed it, got another Tarpon.

Ozdodge fight a little Tarpon.

He managed to do better than I and boated his fish.

Ozdodge's Tarpon.

By Darwin standard, this was a nice Tarpon. And when your Tarpon is bigger than your Barramundi, you know that you have been catching some teenage Barra.
Yet it had been a great day on the water.
With plenty of little fish for the relatively short time that we spent fishing.
On this day, all of our fish  have been released.
Thank you Ozdodge for inviting me on your boat, showing me your fishing spots, and telling which type of lures work on them. It is always nice to learn some fishing tips.

And yes, I know. Once again, I got totally out fished.

But hey, it could be worse.
Have a good day,

Monday, April 20, 2015

2015 Top End Barra Series Round 2.

Hi there,

No long ago took place the round two of the 2015 Top End Barra Series.
And what an adventure it was!
  • It was on the Adelaide River.
  • I was supposed to fish with Nomad.
  • I ended up fishing with someone else due to electric problems.
  • It was very hard fishing for nearly every one in the competition.
It had been planned that I would fish this round on Nomad's boat.
So Nomad picked me up nice and early, to get to the Adelaide River.
On the way to the river, we stopped to buy some petrol in the boat. And a little incident, nothing dramatic, happened. I didn't really stressed about it, it was early and we were going fishing, that was the important thing.
The Adelaide is known as a fickle river when it comes to Barramundi fishing, and we had a plan.
The plan was simple: Use the information that Jason Arrabmundi had given me last year.
This was the best intelligence I could get on this river, and we were confident that it would help us, to catch a few fish.
Well the best of plans, don't always come to fruition... 
That I know, now.

Welcome to the Adelaide River.

As we arrived at the ramp, a few boats were there, and we chatted with some friends. Every one was full of anticipation, and on the happy side of things.
Then it was our turn to launch, and Nomad launched the boat, and stayed in the boat, while I went to park the car and trailer. As I came back I started to get a sense that the day might unfold in a slightly different way than what we had planned.
Nomad and his boat were drifting in the current, like if the outboard was not working.
And not working it was.
The battery was flat. It is with the help of the electric motor, and it's small battery that Nomad was able to come in the vicinity of the boat ramp.
Not far from the ramp is a local business who own a very large and safe pontoon, but they refused Nomad who's boat was in distress the use of it. So between their pontoon and the boat ramp, on a very muddy bank Nomad throw me a rope, which I tied to a tree.
Now Nomad just had to jump on the mud, and go and pick up a spare battery in the car.
This sounded very simple, until he jumped out of the boat.
The mud was really deep and to his waist, Nomad sinked in.
Now, The place is well known, for its very large number of big crocodiles. Honestly I can't say that I forgot about them for a second when I saw Nomad, stuck in the mud on the water edge.
I screamed at him to try to slide or crawl on it. Which he was already trying to do anyway. But it took him a very long time to be close enough to be able to grab my hand and pull himself out of this dangerous situation.
But once out of the mud, we thought that it would be all good from there...
All good it was not, yet...

Nomad got a spare battery from the car, and a boat with a friendly crew took us both to Nomad's boat. Then towed us a few hundred metres up the river. At a spot where we could safely tie the boat in the shade of a few tree, and Nomad started to swap the batteries. While I started to clean the boat from all the mud covering most of the boat by then.
Once the new battery in place, Nomad turned the key and... Tic tic tic ... But no outboard roaring.
The spare battery was flat too. There are days like that, where it is better not to ask why.
This looked more and more like one of these days...
Totally demoralised Nomad cracked open a beer, and I started to flick a lure thinking that this was all the fishing that I would have for the weekend.
Moz and Ruti came passing by and asked if we had any trouble...
We did tell them what was our problem. By then we though that it might be an electric problem, and didn't want to play to much with it on the water.
So we asked them if they could tow us back to the ramp so we could simply go home.
But Dean passed by at the same time and offered me to fish with him for the day, as he was solo in his boat.
After checking with Nomad if it was Ok, I eagerly said yes. I might still get a fish!
But first we towed Nomad back to the ramp, and helped him to get the boat back on the trailer.
And soon, I was zooming up the river on Dean's boat:

Zooming up the Adelaide River.

Dean's big smile, and the wind of a moving boat quickly brought back my spirits.

Dean in the "Bat's Boat".

We went past Goat's Island, and I recognised a spot that we had successfully fished with Arrabmundi in the past. When I told that to Dean we decided to try to troll the place. 
First troll and we saw on the sounder a big school of Barramundi. At least thirty fish, in the 70cm range, size wise. They were an active school of fish, distributed over most of the water column, nearly from the bottom to the surface of the river.
We waited for the hits on our lures, but nothing came.
We turned back and tried to find the school again: they had totally disappeared. It was now impossible to find them. 
We looked closer to the bank, in the middle of the river, on the other side of the river. To no avail, they had disappeared just like that.
We speculated on the fact that maybe a shark or a crocodile might have been chasing them. But we couldn't be sure of anything, apart from the fact that we could not find them no more.
So we went a bit further up the river. And casted soft plastic to some snags. We got some small hits, but nothing massive, and more importantly, nothing stayed connected.
Dean got a 10 cm Barra to the boat, but that was about it.

It was well past mid day and we decided to go back to Goat Island, for a burger.
On the way back, we decided to have a bit of a troll, just where we had seen the fish before.
And yes, I got a small hit, wasn't too sure if I was on or not. And was starting to think that I might have hooked a small catfish. But it came to the surface and started to jump: it was a small Barramundi. We called it for a 45cm one. And I was really hoping that it would be at least 50cm, so I would be on the board.
It wasn't a big fish and we quickly got it to the boat, and were able to me sure it:

My Little Barramundi.

It was 51cm! (20.07874 inch) Too small to keep, but big enough to put me on the board, and to avoid the dreaded donut. Quickly photographed and released, this little fish brought our spirits right up there. There was fish in the water.
We trolled a few time the same spot for no success, so went for a burger at Kai on Goat Island.
There we found a few of the Top End Barra Series lads, all lamenting about the hard fishing and saying how good the burgers felt on a day like this. 
So we eat some burgers.
After a bit of a rest in the shade, and a chit chat with everybody we decided to go back and try our luck once more.
But we didn't go very far, in fact we stopped not long after in a shady spot where Moz and Ruti had stopped too. And we had a bit of a chat with them, taking it easy.
The river really looked good, but the fish simply were not in the mood to feed.

The Adelaide River.

We then decided to try a bit more, but not too hard, and to finally head home.
Dean had definitively saved the day for me, thank you Dean for inviting me on your boat.

Nomad's boat problems were simply that the battery were flat. He had since got the thing checked and new battery have fixed the issue. So it wasn't a major electrical problem, thanks for that.

The Adelaide River can be a very difficult river to fish. Yet I have had some really good day on it, and I know people like Arrabmundi who have caught some really good fish in it. And more than once, so the fish are definitively there. 
Just not easy to get.

But hey, it could be worse.
Have a good day,

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

2015 Top End Barra Series Round 1

Hi there,

Yes, Last weekend was the start of a new Top End Barra Series.
2015 already promise to be an interesting year for the TEBS as it is affectionally known by many of its participants.

  • It was the first round for 2015.
  • It was at Shady Camp.
  • It wasn't easy fishing.
  • It was still a great weekend.
  • Most of my fish were caught on very small Reidy's soft plastic.
This time, once again I was teamed up with Brett, who had invited me on his boat. 
This was going to be at my advantage, as Brett as a good knowledge of Shady Camp, having fished the place for many years. This year the fishing was going to be very hard, I don't know if it was the wind, the storm, the heat or the lack of a good wet season, but the fish were not there in big number, and were playing hard to get. In these conditions, Brett experience had been critical in my ability to catch some fish.

We Launched the boat, early on Saturday morning, not before having installed our camp on the Shady Camp camping ground. A few people had already setup their tents, but the sheer number of car and trailer on the parking made it clear that we would not be alone on the water. After all, it was a weekend, and also the first round of the 2015 Top End Barra Series, in which about 110 anglers were taking part.
Our plan, was not to go to the mouth of the big rivers to try to catch a record sized Barramundi, but rather to go up the little creeks, and catch a big number of medium sized ones. Well that was our plan anyway... As it turned out, not going to the mouth of the big rivers was a good plan, as most people who went there didn't score the dream fish. Still one competitor boated a 125cm (49.212598 inches) Barramundi, a dream for many Barramundi anglers.
But overall, most people caught a small amount of fish, and from what I heard so far, not that many were big fish. I could be proved wrong once the officials results come out, after all some people prefer to keep their cards close to their chest, when it comes to fishing competition.

So after a few minutes of zooming the big river, we took a sharp turn in a little creek and started to go as high as we could... Only to be blocked by the lack of running water over the creek bed. So we stopped, and waited for the tide to catch up with us, so we could go a bit further up. Every now and then we were able to go up one or two turn of the creek, and would have to wait a bit again for more water to push through. 
I had rarely seen a creek with such a dark water.

Little creek with dark water.

As we were waiting about where this previous photo was made, casting to the little back eddy upstream and downstream of the boat waiting for the water to rise, a guid boat with two customers in it came and stopped just opposite of us. Just a bit more than a fishing rod length between the two boats. 
The guide was one of Brett's mate, so they started chatting.
I continued casting up and down, while the two punters on the guide's boat were listening to the conversation. At one point, my lure came back to me,with a few little weeds on it. So I dangled the lure in the running stream, just between the two boats, to try to clean it. Just as I was doing so, a little Barramundi, came out of nowhere and wolfed down my little soft plastic lure under the surprised eyes of us all!
We did boat the beast, and it measured a grand total of 51cm (20.07874 inches)!

First Barramundi of the weekend.

This was no big fish, but it was just big enough to not only be a point scorer in the Top End Barra Series, thus saving me from a donut. But it also got the two customers on the guide's boat in action and they started to pepper the water with their lures.
This little fish had taken the monkey of my back, I was now a very happy chap, with a little fish.

Eventually the water got high enough for us to get where we wanted to be, at the end of a small billabong, just above the only escape point for the water, and all the bait that swim in it. Hoping that a few nice Barra would have had the same idea, we started to flick our lures towards all the ambush point that we could see. This was a great plan.
But the Barramundi didn't know about it, and just a few very small ones were hanging around.
Brett got a few, while I could not put a hook in any of them.
It was good fun, but no point scorer there.
So we decided to try somewhere else.
Went to another creek that lead us into another even smaller billabong. But with lily pads, tarpons and all, another seemingly very attractive Barra habitat... Well seemingly, because very few were anging around... A sense of deja vus started to float in the air, Brett was catching little rats Barra, and I was getting nothing. 
Then I got a strike, and started to reel a little fish!
Alas, not of the right specie.

Little Catfish on the Zman soft plastic lure.

This was a small one, and it was quickly release, without any needs to get it in the boat.
Then I changed my lure, for a small Reidy's soft plastic.
And finally I got a little Barra too. Very small, but a fish is a fish!

Selfie with a Barramundi.

I was actually impressed by the dark colour of these fish. All the Barramundi that I had caught before were either full chrome with a yellow tail, or just a bit toned down, but these ones were really dark, with a black tail. Even Barramundi that I had caught in billabong were cleaner than these. These little fish had obviously spent more time in fresh water than in salt water.
Not having much luck with the big Barramundi in this spot, we decided to move a bit further away, in another creek. On our arrival we saw a big Jabiru standing guard at a turn in the stream.

Can you spot the Jabiru?

Here it is.

I like the Jabiru, because they remind me of the storks I used to see overseas as a kid. In fact Jabiru and stork are birds of the same family, as this article on Wikipedia explains.
Still not finding any fish there, we returned to the first spot of the day, and this would be the story of the weekend. Going from one spot to another to try to find the fish. Sometime without success, and sometimes with success.
This time it was rewarded with success as Brett finally caught a point scorer:

Brett and his point scorer.

His Barramundi was measuring 51cm (20.07874 inches), exactly the same as mine!
What were the chances of a coincidence like this one?
Now we both had a fish and both were on the board, no more monkey on anyone's back.
Brett then went on catching a few fish in a row, but being too small for being point scorer, he kept releasing then faster than I could photograph them.

Brett quickly release a juvenile Barramundi.

The place was beautiful, and here too the water was very dark, nearly black.

Little creek and flood plain.

The decor was great, but the action rather poor, so we decided to go where we had caught a few fish last year. This from my point of view was going to be a very good move, as I was to catch there in a few minutes, my two biggest Barramundi of the weekend. Now when I say the two biggest, don't wait for some monster fish, but they were going to help me to just raise in the first quarter of the score board.

I first got my biggest fish of the weekend:

My best Barra of the weekend.

At 65cm (25.590551 inches), it was big enough to revive my spirit and hope, that all was not lost.
I caught this one on the left hand side of the creek, upstream from the boat. We could hear and see, small to medium sized Barramundi boofing around the boat. Some too far away to cast to, but some of them were well inside of casting distance. We could also see plenty of very nervous bait in this creek, and it should have gone like crazy, but it was still a bit slow. I was starting to wonder if this was due to the weather, as it was very hot. Even at the end of the afternoon, and we could feel a storm brewing. After a few cast in the same spot of  where I had just caught a fish, but with no more results. I decided to cast on the right hand side of the creek, thinking that the fish may have moved to the other bank.
I flicked my lure, the closest I could from the bank, really trying to hug the edge of the water, as this is where we could usually see the boofs. I reeled in very slow my little soft plastic, and a bit of a tap on the line, quickly followed by a bent rod made me realised that I was on again.
This one gave a much better fight that its predecessor, and I was expecting a better fish to come to the surface.
Only once it was boated and on the brag mat we could see, that in fact it was actually one centimetre shorter than the one I had boated just before.

Barramundi before the storm.

This one was just 64cm (25.19685 inches), but was proof that Barra were to be found in these waters.
We were starting to accuse the fatigue of the day, and the storm was practically upon us.
No matter how beautiful this looked like, we decided that it would be safer to zoom to the ramp, and head to camp.

The storm arriving on the flood plain.

Just as we arrived at our camping ground, we could see that the storm was truly on; just where we had been fishing just a few minutes ago.
I wanted to take a photo of it and I did...

Northern Territory storm.

Just after I made this photograph, as I was trying to get a second and better one, thunder cracked over my head, and lightning fell about one hundred meters in from of me. The sound made all my bones crush on themselves, and the light made me jump back. I turned around to see Brett quickly getting in the car and shouting at me to do the same. So we both sat there a few minutes, just to make sure that lightning was not falling on us, and laughing at what had just happened.
And decided to start cooking our evening meal.
With the rain half falling on us and lightning all around we decided that the best was to be as fast as possible, and went for the bacon and eggs.

Quick dinner.

Once in a sandwich, it went done rather well, and made us more hungry. So we then put two steak in the frypan, and had steak with potatoes salad.
By then we started to fell full and tired. Wondering if we should go for a bout of night fishing, and try to get ourselves a few good fish. But with lightning falling all around us, we decided that using graphite rods in these condition was tempting chance a bit too much, and opted for an early night.

All night, the lightning fall all around us. I kept waking up and seeing flash of lights lightened the inside of my small tent. In fact the storm wrecked my tent, as the two poles that are supposed to support it, broke during the night, and in the  morning the tent was a write off.

Two broken tent poles.

Yet the morning arrived, and wildlife was there to great us:

Kite on a Pandanus in the morning.

On one side the sunrise was beautiful:

Sunrise at Shady Camp.

But if you looked the opposite way, it was still very much overcast.
In fact as we launched the boat and started on the river, we saw a few boats who had passed the night at the mouth of Sampan creek, heading back towards the ramp. Some of them still wearing raincoat and looking haggard. 

Overcast morning on the river.

We tried a few places, without much success.
Then Brett showed me a place that he used to fish many  moons ago, and said that we could get a good surprise by casting to the snag against the bank. As he had has some good fish there in the past.
As we started to flick Rossco, one of the main organiser of the Top End Barra Series came to pass us on the water, and stopped for a chat.
We could hear and even see some boof, showing us that indeed there was some Barramundi in the vicinity. But we could not catch any...

Rossco, one of the man behind the TEBS.

We were having a few flick, a bit of a chat, then a few more cast, and chat again.
At one stage as I was flicking my little lure towards the snag, and listening to the conversation at the same time, a sharp jerk in my line reminded me without any question why we were there.
Line peeled a bit, the fish went down, then jumped, yes it was a Barramundi!
tIt then swam towards the boat, went under the boat, and because I was not very focused, my line started to dangerously rub on the propeller of the outboard. I had to put more than half of my fishing rod underwater to get rid of this sticky situation and finally get my rod on the same side of the boat as the fish was.
Brett did a good job at netting it, and I had my fourth point scorer of the weekend.

My fourth point scorer of the weekend.

This Barramundi came in at 63cm (24.80315 inches), and was going to be the last one of the weekend to give me a few points in the competition.
After catching this fish, the three of us really started to believe that we could do it, and our lures started to drop in the water all around the nearby snags. Alas, no other fish came from this spot.
We moved a bit further away, tried to troll, and flicking again. For nothing much really.
We moved back at the top of the little creek where Brett had got his Barra the previous day.
There I got another one, but a very small one:

Little fish selfie.

This baby one was release as quick as I could after just a quick selfie.
There we even tried some surface lure, popper and fizzer, and got some good hits on them. But once again, the fish didn't stay connected.
At one point I saw some bird footprints in the mud, and started to wonder what it would be like to be a water bird, on a river full of crocodile?

Bir's footprints on the muddy bank.

But it was starting to be early afternoon, we still had to pack up the camp, and drive all the way back to Darwin, so we took the decision to call it a day, and head home.

Thank you Brett for inviting me on your boat for the weekend, I had a great time.

The plan to try to find fish at the top in the little creeks, proved to be good, even if we didn't get as many as we expected. Out of about 110 participant, about 50 came back without catching any fish. So I personally see our weekend as a successful one. We had some good laughs, we had good food, and a few fish. What else does one really needs?

Yes, maybe if my tent had not been partially destroyed...

But hey, it could be worse.
Have a good day,